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The Ferry at Copenhagen


Revision #1


The year I came for you I was handsome
as the Prince of Wales, a flat torso;
my rain slicker and rubber boots glistening
in storm water;

Are stands of Douglas fir
cut for Christmas trees? Is your grave
kept clean?

Two women, crisp as a ski trail spoon
asparagus simmering in a soup tureen;
snow breaks loose to fall in an echelon
of flakes.

I take a cigarette on the glassed
observation deck, Scandinavia opens
its hand, but I cannot tell Copenhagen
from Stockholm.

Thick coffee in the First Class lounge,
wilted delphiniums sag in waist-high
urns;

a cortege of birds flap over the bristle
marrow in our wake. New girls replace
your smile wearing floral winds lowered
off shoulders;

Far away the languid diesel engine,
the dying voice of a hallway steward,
a corridor to my berth lit with 40-watt
orange bulbs, a velvet call rope sways
as the ferry plies the Danish coast.

Hot house roses slip off vases onto
metal floors; rubaiyat hair at the face,
a bezel for a haute horlogerie watch
sold in Paris at Patek Philippe & Co.






















Original:

The year I came for you
I was handsome
as the Prince of Wales,
rain slicker flattened on my
torso, rubber boots glistening
in storm water.

Are the stands of Douglas Fir
cut for Christmas trees?

Is your grave kept clean?

Two women, crisp as a ski trail
spoon asparagus simmering in a
soup tureen; snow breaks loose
to fall in an echelon of flakes.

I take a cigarette on the glassed
observation deck, Scandinavia
opens its hand to me, but I cannot
tell Copenhagen from Stockholm.

Thick coffee in the First Class
lounge, rusted delphiniums sag
in waist-high urns;

a cortege of birds flap over
the bristle marrow in our wake.

New girls replace your smile
wearing floral winds lowered
off shoulders;

Far away the languid diesel
engine, the dying voice
of a steward in a hallway
lit with 40-watt orange bulbs,
a velvet rope sways softly
at the lounge entrance.
 
Hand gathered roses slip off
vases onto metal floors.

I think of you, antique face
surrounded by a sapphire bezel,
haute horlogerie sold in
Paris at Patek Philippe & Co.

















Last edited by Bernie01, Jun/14/2013, 11:33 am


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
May/23/2013, 1:16 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: The Winter Ferry of Copenhagen


Hi Bernie,

I've been watching as you've been expanding this poem. I was taken in the original draft by the simplicity of the first line and the sadness evoked by the second question. I also loved this stanza:

New girls replace your smile
wearing floral winds lowered
off shoulders;

The only place I stumbled in this revision was this stanza:
 
a cortege of birds flap to the
bristle marrow of the pond;

because I wasn't envisioning the ferry being on or near "the pond"? Maybe change it to "a pond" to indicate it was something the N saw from the observation deck. Or am I being too nitpicky? Could be.

So many of your poems are love poems, Bernie, beautiful love poems, and not just to a beloved but to the 10,000 things.
May/29/2013, 8:54 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Bernie01 Profile
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Re: The Winter Ferry of Copenhagen


K---

oh, please more nitpicky.

for me, the Forums are workshops, not showcases; you see me trying out words and suggested revisions, the thrill of creating. and yes, the heartbreak of
psoriasis...LOL.

yes, a troubled two lines---i so wanted one syllable. pond.

now, the poem is giving a new kid from Detroit a chance on Broadway...


a cortege of birds flap over the
bristle marrow behind our ferry.


will see.

a love letter.

i began using the term love letter many years ago after Resnais---Hiroshima, Mon Amour; it can be translated as love letter.


all these years later, Resnais gave me the artistic courage for the final lines of the poem; many might find those lines harsh, rasping, or an act of public infidelity.

i noticed your comment about Silliman; my god, the man's daily blog all these years screams love letter to poetry.

a favorite line of his:

RON SILLIMAN:

Overalls
on a fence
to dry
draw
the wind
out of dirt hills
below
clouds
that will mean rain
someplace


and here, Donald Hall --- final lines of his poem on the death of his wife, Jane Kenyon:

...Three times
today I drove to your grave.
Sometimes, coming back home
to our circular driveway.
I imagine you’ve returned
before me, bags of groceries upright
in the back of the Saab,
its trunk lid delicately raised
as if proposing an encounter,
dog-fashion, with the Honda.



thanks so much for parsing through the poem.


bernie








   

Last edited by Bernie01, May/30/2013, 12:50 am


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
May/30/2013, 12:42 am Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: The Winter Ferry of Copenhagen


Hi Bernie,

That last stanza of your poem did stop me and cause me to google the unfamiliar terms. The metaphor works, but I had to work to understand it. Not sure what it says about me as a reader, but I didn't find the ending harsh, just a bit cryptic at first pass.

You are right about Silliman's blog being a love letter to poetry (or at least certain kinds of poetry). I like the line of his you quoted.

Kenyon is one of my favorite poets, and I have read a number of Hall's poems about her death and coping with that loss, and to my mind they are some of his best work.
Jun/7/2013, 9:00 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Re: The Winter Ferry of Copenhagen


K---

for fun, photos of Patek Philippe & Co....

http://en.worldtempus.com/article/insider/patek-philippe-company-revamps-its-paris-showrooms


alas, a serious note, the cancer death of young english poet julia darling---


End

Eventually, I was placed on a bed like a boat
in an empty room with sky filled windows,
with azure blue pillows, the leopard-like quilt.
It was English tea time, with the kind of light
that electrifies the ordinary. It had just stopped raining.
Beads of water on glass glittered like secrets.
In another room they were baking, mulling wine.
I was warm with cloves, melting butter, demerara,
and wearing your pyjamas. My felt slippers
waited on the floor. Then the door opened
soundlessly, and I climbed out of bed.
It was like slipping onto the back of a horse,
and the room folded in, like a pop up story
then the house, and the Vale. Even the songs
and prayers tidied themselves into grooves
and the impossible hospital lay down its chimneys
its sluices, tired doctors, and waiting room chairs.
And I came here. It was easy to leave.


she died surrounded by friends on 14 April 2005 at 10:15 AM GMT.

Jane died 15 months after her diagnosis, Julia experienced a period of almost five years of remission, she was lucid to the very end.


here, her blog entry near the end:

Posted by bev (her lifelong friend) on 12 April 2005 at 10:15 PM
 
--- four months before she passed away.

Friday Night 8.15 staying alive
My body is just incredibly shocking. I can't believe it can look and feel so different so quickly and in such a short time. Both legs are very thin like twigs with podgy ankles and swollen toes. My tummy is like a children's toy or a D ickensian gentleman's pot belly. My upper body has thin chickeny arms and sticky out bones, and I am completely yellow, especially my eyes which are a livid ochre yellow. I could frighten children - and I like children. My little niece Ester and her sister Naomi came to see me today bringing drawings and books of activities to do when I was bored. I imagined what it must have been like to see this scene from a child's view from the ages of 5 and 8. It could be quite traumatic and a strange thing that one finds oneself writing about in a writing class years ahead. Then the nurses arrived and gave them lots of attention which would add to the general strangeness of the incident.


she was 49 years old.



somber note, but when does poetry not carry an undercurrent?

thanks again.


bernie


let's hope this tune gives her a smile as she bends in to hear:


http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-exotic-delight-bay-mw0000814867


(select#8)


Fiesta Tropical
Azaxxa
Exotic Delight Bay











Last edited by Bernie01, Jun/9/2013, 1:27 am


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Jun/7/2013, 4:04 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: The Winter Ferry of Copenhagen


Once again I find myself envious of your language facility. You can pull off using words that, in my mouth, would immediately come across as arch, affected. That said, the poem is not generating any heat for me. But maybe that is not something the poem is after.

Tere
Jun/8/2013, 2:59 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: The Winter Ferry of Copenhagen


Hi Bernie,

I noticed you substituted "gelatine" for "antique" in the last stanza. How about dropping the adjective before face altogether:

I think of your face surrounded
by the sapphire bezel of your hair,
haute horlogerie sold in Paris
at Patek Philippe & Co.

Your note about Julia Darling, both the poem and the blog entry, reminded me very much of two people in my life, my stepfather and a close friend, who died of cancer.
Jun/8/2013, 3:07 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Re: The Winter Ferry of Copenhagen


K---

good idea. edit made. slight revision overall with that last verse, hope, of course, to make it easier for the reader.


just looking at Stevens and Pessoa---they never met, but both wanted to see as a child, as Stevens said; Pessoa too.

Stevens frowns upon poets who resort to metaphor in poetic discourse. This, he believes, represents an evasion of reality. Apart from obstructing language, metaphorical discourse also overburdens literature.


Pessoa says about the same thing---he died in the mid 1930's---suffering liver failure.


quote:

I try divesting myself of what I’ve learned,
I try forgetting the mode of remembering they taught me,
And scrape off the ink they used to paint my senses,
Unpacking my true emotions,
Unwrapping myself, and being myself, not Alberto Caeiro,
But a human animal that Nature produced.


Pessoa


i think more deeply about your family deaths than you might imagine; for us here it is my need for a liver transplant---about the same thing.

ever listen this american Life? saturdays on my public radio station---available through the computer.


David Rakoff passing away from cancer, very young man in New York.

Tig Notaro---New York comic---she starts her stage performance, hi, how are you doing, i've got cancer...

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/contributors/tig-notaro




not a downer, just drills through to the heart.


thanks again.


Tere---

you ole houndog.

if you are in the mood, do me this one favor---list a pom that does warm, heat and boil you to the depths of some unimaginable sahara.

if you are in the mood.

much thanks for stopping by.

“The sun is a corbeil of flowers the moon Blanche/
Places there, a bouquet”
 
Wallace Stevens



corbeil - definition of corbeil by the Free Online Dictionary ...
www.thefreedictionary.com/corbeil‎

cor•beil also cor•beille (kôr b l, kôr-b ). n. A sculptured basket of flowers or fruits used as an architectural ornament.




bernie





 














 

 

Last edited by Bernie01, Jun/9/2013, 2:00 am


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Jun/9/2013, 1:40 am Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: The Winter Ferry of Copenhagen


Fair enough request, Bernie. Guess I could go squirrely on you, pull up a heat generating poem from, hell, I don't know, from Sexton, Cummings, Cavafy, or from the ancient Chinese Anthology Confucius defined. But what would be the point? Anyway, no need to go far afield. Here's one such.

http://bdelectablemnts.runboard.com/t2186

The heat put off here I figure is friction caused. Like two sticks rubbed together.

Tere
Jun/9/2013, 1:29 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: The Winter Ferry of Copenhagen


Bernie,

For me, the lines I kept are the important parts of the poem. Admittedly, it's a biased, personal choice. The beautiful images I removed "are" beautiful but seem to take away from the core of the poem. If you were to insist on those beautiful images, something would have to be done to intensify that beautiful reflected world even more. In other words, even more, not less, if you went in that direction. Right now, the plain and the sparkling seem to be warring with each other. I chose the plain. Zak

ps -- I don't know why that one line stretched out to the right instead of wrapping around. Maybe it won't do it on your copy.

]Bernie01 wrote:

Revision #1


The year I came for you, rain slicker flattened
on my torso, rubber boots glistening
in storm water.

I take a cigarette on the glassed
observation deck, Scandinavia opens
its hand, but I cannot tell Copenhagen
from Stockholm.

Thick coffee in the First Class lounge,
wilted delphiniums sag in waist-high
urns;

a cortege of birds flap over the bristle
marrow in our wake. Far away the languid diesel engine, the dying voice of a hallway steward, a corridor to my berth lit with 40-watt orange bulbs, as the ferry plies the Danish coast.
 
I think of you surrounded by sapphire
hair.



alternative ending:


I think of your rubaiyat hair a bezel
surrounding a watch of haute horlogerie
sold in Paris at Patek Philippe & Co.












Original:

The year I came for you
I was handsome
as the Prince of Wales,
rain slicker flattened on my
torso, rubber boots glistening
in storm water.

Are the stands of Douglas Fir
cut for Christmas trees?

Is your grave kept clean?

Two women, crisp as a ski trail
spoon asparagus simmering in a
soup tureen; snow breaks loose
to fall in an echelon of flakes.

I take a cigarette on the glassed
observation deck, Scandinavia
opens its hand to me, but I cannot
tell Copenhagen from Stockholm.

Thick coffee in the First Class
lounge, rusted delphiniums sag
in waist-high urns;

a cortege of birds flap over
the bristle marrow in our wake.

New girls replace your smile
wearing floral winds lowered
off shoulders;

Far away the languid diesel
engine, the dying voice
of a steward in a hallway
lit with 40-watt orange bulbs,
a velvet rope sways softly
at the lounge entrance.
 
Hand gathered roses slip off
vases onto metal floors.

I think of you, antique face
surrounded by a sapphire bezel,
haute horlogerie sold in
Paris at Patek Philippe & Co.


















Jun/10/2013, 4:37 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: The Winter Ferry of Copenhagen


Hi Bernie,

I like the Pessoa quote. Reading it my mind went to Blake:

And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys & desires.

Not quite the same thing but in a similar vein.

I understand Stevens desire for poets not to employ obstructing language in order to evade reality. That said, I am unwilling to recommend poets remove metaphor from their tool boxes. The apt use of metaphor can actually help us see reality more clearly, can help us see connections between things we might not otherwise see.

I have enjoyed listening to This American Life over the years but haven't done so recently, so thanks for reminder and the link.
Jun/10/2013, 8:39 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Re: The Winter Ferry of Copenhagen


T

good lord are you giving my poetry a complement? if so, i am terribly pleased and much thanks back to you...by the way the poets you mention as posible candidates for the mayor of Manilla (just said that for fun) i love too---i met ms. sexton several years before her suicide---she picked out one of my poems and spent an hour with me puzzling over this line...

the body is a hiroshima of itself
famous before mason jars and newspapers..



she was just beautiful, so kind.


Z---

especially appreciated your actually posting the vision you have for this pom---makes it so much easier to see what you are driving at---let me think it over, but you clearly make your point.


K---

yes, yes, metaphor. never met one i didn't like..says our friend...Derek Walcott

quote:

I saw men with rusty eyeholes like cannons,
and whenever their half-naked crews cross the sun,
right through their tissue, you traced their bones
like leaves against the sunlight; frigates, barquentines,
the backward-moving current swept them on,
and high on their decks I saw great admirals,
Rodney, Nelson, de Grasse.





John Berryman:

…Our care like stranded h
ulls
litter all day our little Avenues.

The sunburnt terraces which swans make home
with water purling, Macchu Pichu died
like Delphi long ago—


Norman Dubie

“The geese broke from the shadows like handkerchiefs out of the sleeves of black dresses at a burial.” (Monologue of Two Moons, Nudes with Crests)

“The gas jets are on: they are like fountains of the best water.” (Monologue of Two Moons) Norman Dubie



Wolcott:

"the sunlight of olive oil slowly spreads in saucers",


T.S. Eliot:

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;


T.S. Eliot:

The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots…




bernie


 

Last edited by Bernie01, Jun/10/2013, 1:01 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Jun/10/2013, 12:26 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
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Re: The Ferry at Copenhagen


hi Zak---

Pound says he shortened his Metro poem first to a page, then to a line; Hemingway says he tossed the first 30,000 words of The Sun Also Rises to open with this flat, direct and to me very effective paragraph:

"Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton. Do not think that I am very much impressed by that as a boxing title, but it meant a lot to Robert Cohn"


The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
petals on a wet, black bough.

Ezra Pound



exploring shorter....


Snow dogged the ferry.
Diesel engine smoke,
black corridor to my berth,
the velvet call rope swayed
like a dancing woman.

My Prince of Wales torso
hard and straight.
Your rubaiyat hair easy
to take, a bezel around
a haute horlogerie watch
sold that year in Paris
by Patek Philippe & Company.





thanks for prompting this review.


bernie

 

 



Last edited by Bernie01, Jun/13/2013, 8:15 am


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Jun/12/2013, 12:45 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: The Ferry at Copenhagen


Bernie,

The fact I thought it was Ezra Pound is a form of success. Entirely professional from a glitzy magazine (back then) perhaps. It took me a second look to realize it was yours. More like Pound than Hemingway, to my way of looking at it. Congrats. Zak

quote:

Bernie01 wrote:

hi Zak---

Pound says he shortened his Metro poem first to a page, then to a line; Hemingway says he tossed the first 30,000 words of The Sun Also Rises to open with this flat, direct and to me very effective paragraph:

"Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton. Do not think that I am very much impressed by that as a boxing title, but it meant a lot to Robert Cohn"


The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
petals on a wet, black bough.

Ezra Pound



exploring shorter....


Snow dogged the ferry.
Diesel engine smoke,
black corridor to my berth,
the velvet call rope swayed
like a dancing woman.

My Prince of Wales torso
hard and straight.
Your rubaiyat hair easy
to take, a bezel around
a haute horlogerie watch
sold that year in Paris
by Patek Philippe & Company.





thanks for prompting this review.


bernie

 

 




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